December 2018 The WBS Connection

Dec 12, 2018

Happy Holidays from WBS!

We’re reflecting and giving thanks this season, and now is the perfect time to share our thoughts with you. Watch this video for holiday wishes from our team at Wisconsin Building Supply!


Prefab or stick-built?

For some homeowners it’s not even a question, but for others the decision to build a prefab or stick-built home is a tough call. We have a list of key differences that will allow you help potential clients decide.

Prefabricated homes have often been associated with lower quality materials and construction. But advances in technology mean prefabricated homes — also called modular homes — are built with more accuracy and quality than ever before.

WBS is proud to supply materials for both types of homes, and we’re here to give you the benefits and drawbacks to each.


Modular: Add any type of window, door, wall, or architectural feature you like. Stick built: The look can be customized based on the customer’s preference.

Summary: There is no difference between the final appearance of modular and stick-built homes.

Floor Plans and Design

Modular: Modular homes today are highly customized in their interior and exterior appearances. They aren’t just “cookie cutter” homes anymore. Stick built: Most custom builders can provide sample plans they’ve built, offer design services, or direct you to architects.

Summary: In either case, full customization is standard.


Modular: The normal timeframe is 3.5-4 months for turn-key projects. Construction can begin in the factory at the same time the foundation is being poured on site. Weather has almost no impact on the schedule.

Stick built: The normal timeframe is 5-6 months for turn-key projects. Since all construction occurs on site, work projects have to be scheduled more carefully and subcontractors are at the mercy of others. The work schedule is dependent on weather conditions.

Summary: If time is of the essence, building a modular home is the fastest option.

Building Process

Modular: These homes are built on an assembly line and are constructed in a factory. It is delivered in sections to the home site. Stick built: Stick built homes are constructed from scratch on the building site, so all steps and materials are visible to the new owner. Stick built homes use local labor and material suppliers, which stimulates the local economy.

Building Codes

Modular and Stick Built: Modular- and stick-built houses are required to meet the same local building codes.

Cost Comparison

Modular and Stick built: They are the same cost when comparing like materials.

Resale Value

Modular: Well built, high-quality modular homes retain their value well. Stick Built: In the past, stick-built homes held their value better.

Summary: Because of improved processes and standards, most modular homes today maintain their value as well as stick-built homes.


Home Automation

Smart homes aren’t just a concept for the future — they are a demand in the present. If you want to stay relevant in today’s home building market, it’s important to think about what can be done to offer new productions and solutions to meet the automation needs of today’s homeowner.

For the past few years smart home technology was in its early-adopter stage, but it’s quickly moved to the acceptance and demand stages. If your clients haven’t already been asking for ways to make their new construction homes smarter, they will be soon.

That means changes for your business — in terms of the way you think, the features you offer, and the processes used to implement them. How can you stay on top of the trend that is soon to become the norm? We have a few tips.

  1. Discuss options with the homeowner

    During your initial meeting, have homeowners make a list of things they find inconvenient in their current homes but could be improved by technology. Would they benefit from automatically locking doors and scheduled garage door closing? Do they travel often? If so, would they like to control their home’s temperature settings remotely? Turn on interior lights on a schedule? How about entertainment systems? Would they like to wire in voice-activated systems to control music streaming and the television?

  2. Work with a smart electrician

    One of the most important subcontractors you’ll work with is the electrician. Make sure yours is up-to-date on current technology and innovation, because some components are wired into the home. Smart switch installation, versus using standard light switches, is something to look for. Be sure they’re willing to offer solutions like strategically placed outlets to power and charge devices, and plenty of counter-height USB outlets.

  3. Do your research

    Hubs are the piece of the puzzle that streamline and simplify a smart home by syncing its connected devices together. This link from PC Magazine gives you the rundown. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) recently did a webinar series on designing for smart home success. Check it out here.

As you learn to navigate the world of building smart homes, keep an open mind, and keep yourself informed. Learning tricks to add low-cost, high-impact technology to homes is a big way to boost profits, and being able to market yourself as a smart builder will open you up to limitless possibilities.


Toys for Tots

Every child deserves a little Christmas! Learn how you can partner with us to help!

We’re teaming up with Toys for Tots to spread Christmas cheer, and we’d like your help.

From now through Dec. 12 you can drop off new, unwrapped toys at our Appleton location, 222 N. Lilas Dr. Drop-off times are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.